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What To Do With Your Outdoor Furniture During Winter

While you’re all snug and cosy in bed during winter and the wind is howling, spare a thought for your outdoor furniture. Sure, during summer, when the weather is balmy, outdoor furniture is right at home. But, when the weather turns south, so to speak, that favourite wicker modular outdoor furniture or aluminium frame outdoor furniture can easily get damaged. 

At Briscoes, we only stock quality outdoor furniture. But even what we offer may need to be protected or stored during the colder months. Most homeowners don’t use their outdoor furniture table and chairs when it’s cold. So, we often get asked what the best thing to do is during winter. So, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help. After reading, you’ll be all set and know what to do when June rolls around. Let’s dive in. 

How winter can affect outdoor furniture

In short, winter isn’t kind to your outdoor furniture. Certain materials fare better than others. But, generally, the conditions will cause damage over time, no matter how durable your outdoor furniture is. Understanding these conditions and how they could potentially damage your outdoor chairs and wares will help mitigate the damage. Here are the main considerations. 


Rain, rain, go away! That’s what you’ll be singing if you see the effects of continuous rain on your beloved outdoor balcony furniture. Sure, a bit of rain is ok. It does rain during summer from time to time, after all. But, the frequent and often heavy rain during winter can cause damage, especially to outdoor furniture that’s made from wood or fabric. 

Generally, excess rain can cause mould and mildew to grow. Mould, in particular, not only looks bad but can cause health problems. Also, if you have outdoor furniture made from steel, a lot of rain can cause rust to form. Opting for aluminium may be the way to go if you want quality outdoor furniture that’s not affected by the rain so much.


Especially if you live in exposed places (or in Wellington), it can get very windy in New Zealand. We won’t get into the science too much, but the wind does tend to be stronger during winter. This is in part due to how the earth is heated unevenly

Windy conditions can be a real problem if you have lighter chairs and tables like aluminium frame outdoor furniture. This is because the furniture may move around your deck or garden. In extreme cases, it could even fly over the fence into the neighbour's section! Other items that may fly away include:

  • Umbrellas
  • Outdoor cushions 
  • Camping chairs

When furniture moves around on its own accord, it can also cause scratches to wood and even tears to fabric.

Top tip: If your favourite comfy outdoor furniture gets damaged, changes will be more cost-effective to replace instead of repair. If you’re on the hunt for new furniture, read our top tips for transforming your outdoor area on a budget

The cold

During winter in some parts of New Zealand, it can get as cold as below freezing. Those morning frosts can be harsh. Now, some of us do better in the cold than others. But, no matter how you cope with the cold, consider how your outdoor furniture would have to stay out there all night and all day. 

Especially for solid wood outdoor furniture or wicker modular outdoor furniture, cold temperatures are bad news. The cold can cause wood to contract. The moisture in the wood causes the contraction. On the other hand, when it gets too hot, solid wood outdoor furniture tends to expand. This also isn’t ideal. In fact, too much expansion or contraction can cause warping or other damage. 


Snow isn’t common in most of the country during winter. However, it can happen from time to time when there’s a cold front or for those living in the South Island or near Mount Ruapehu. As you’ll know, snow is essentially frozen water. And, just like excessive rain, snow can eventually cause nasty mould and mildew. We don’t want that!


Ways your can protect your outdoor furniture during winter

Now that the doom and gloom is out of the way, it’s time for the good news. There are plenty of simple and cost-effective ways to look after your outdoor furniture table and chairs during winter. Here is what we tell customers wanting to protect their favourite pieces. 

Install a shade cover

A shade cover or outdoor furniture cover is one of the easier ways to look after what matters. The beauty of outdoor furniture covers is that they protect your outdoor chairs and other pieces during winter and summer. That’s good bang for buck!

Especially if you have heavy outdoor furniture like steel or dense wood, it may be challenging to move it. So, covering it with an outdoor furniture cover that is waterproof is a great plan of attack. At Briscoes, we have a wide range of shade covers. All of our options are easy to take on and off.


If you have heavy outdoor garden furniture, it may not be easy to move. But, if you have someone to help you with heavy lifting, or you have light aluminium frame outdoor furniture, storage could be a great option. During winter, when you won’t be sitting out on the deck in the sunshine as much, your outdoor furniture won’t get as much use, if any. In this case, why not get it out of the way of your family and the elements? 

Storage is only really a good option if you have small outdoor furniture, a garden, or a spare room. However, if you’re really keen on this idea, you could also look for a paid storage space. In this case, you may want to go in with a family member or friend, or store other items at the same time. That way, it’s worth the investment. 

Switch out with more durable furniture

Now, only some have the luxury of having more than one set of outdoor furniture. In saying that, some outdoor balcony furniture and outdoor garden furniture is better suited to winter conditions than others. For example, fabric cushions and wooden outdoor furniture are not great for winter. On the flip side, aluminium or wood furniture with a good protective stain can withstand harsher conditions well. 

If you have the luxury of a lot of extra space at home, having a summer and winter outdoor furniture table and chairs can be a great idea. Even if it’s a case of putting your solid furniture away during winter and just pulling our camping chairs when you need them. If you’re looking for a new outdoor furniture set, read our guide that weighs up the pros and cons of wood vs aluminium frame outdoor furniture. 

Bring in cushions

As we’ve mentioned already, fabric outdoor furniture and cushions don’t do well outside during winter. Luckily, fabric furniture like campaign chairs or loungers are usually really lightweight, and so are cushions. So, a simple solution is often just bringing inside cushions and fabric furniture during winter and leaving the frames that are more durable outside. This can be especially a good option if you don’t have spare storage space. At Briscoes, we have a wide variety of chair pads and outdoor chair cushions to choose from. There are some fantastic styles available.

Apply oil or stain

If you can’t store your casual outdoor furniture or cover it with an outdoor furniture cover, applying oil, stain, or other protection could be the way to go. Some solid wooden furniture and aluminium furniture can have a protective layer applied so that they can withstand winter conditions and even UV rays from the sun. 

In most cases, you can actually apply oils, stains and protective layers yourself. It pays to do a bit of research before giving it a go yourself. Understanding your given material will ensure you don’t accidentally cause any damage. To start your research, read our guide on how to clean and protect outdoor furniture

The range of shade covers at Briscoes

At Briscoes, we have a wide range of outdoor furniture cover options to choose from. Our selection covers most sizes, and it’s all waterproof and designed especially to keep out both summer and winter environments. In fact, our shade covers at Briscoes are made from polyester ripstop material, making them extra strong. 

Time to prepare your outdoor space for winter?

Winter can be a challenging time of year for many reasons. Thankfully, by following some of the advice in the blog, damaging your outdoor furniture will be one less thing to worry about. We’ve covered some great ways to look after your favourite outdoor garden furniture. But, if  your favourite furniture is beyond repair, it may be time for a trip to Briscoes. We have a wide range of products to level up your outdoor space. If you’re unsure where to get started, read our blog that goes over 12 things to consider when choosing outdoor furniture